17 Opposition parties express 'deep apprehension' about recent SC verdict on PMLA
New Delhi, August 4, 2022
As many as 17 Opposition parties have issued a joint statement recording their "deep apprehension" about the long-term implications of the recent Supreme Court judgement upholding, in entirety, the amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The statement said this was done without examining whether some of the amendments could have been enacted by way of Finance Act.
"If tomorrow the Supreme Court holds that the challenged amendments through Finance Act is bad in law, then the entire exercise would become futile and loss of judicial time," it said.
"We hold, and will always hold, our Supreme Court in the highest respect. Yet, we are compelled to point out that the judgment should have awaited the verdict of a larger Bench for examining the constitutionality of the Finance Act route to carry out amendments. These far-reaching amendments strengthened the hands of a government, indulging in political vendetta of the worst kind, by using these very amended laws relating to money laundering and investigating agencies, to target its political opponents in a mischievous and malicious mannner," the statement said.
"We are also very disappointed that the highest judicial authority, invited to give an independent verdict on the lack of checks and balances in the Act, has virtually reproduced arguments given by the executive in support of draconian amendments.
"We hope that the dangerous verdict will be short-lived and constitutional provisions will prevail soon," the statement added.
The parties which signed the statement included the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, DMK, Shiv Sena and AAP. Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal also signed the statement.
In a landmark verdict delivered on Wednesday (July 27), the Supreme Court declared that the ED has the powers conferred under law to investigate people, conduct searches and raids, and even arrest citizens under the stringent provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The Superme Court issued its directives in a 545-page order after hearing a clutch of pleas concerning validity and interpretation of a number of provisions of the PMLA and the procedure followed by the ED while probing cases under this law.